Thursday, October 24, 2013

Bits of Life and Thoughts on Prayer

(Written over the course of several days, bit by bit, as time permits.)

The days have been bright and sunny, sometimes with temperatures up around 90 degrees, and we just put our first holiday event on the calendar for the end of November. It's hard to believe the holidays will be here soon, and when I think of all that will need to be done, I feel I have little energy from the outset. I began my first list yesterday, and this afternoon I started thinking about hors d'oeuvres and dessert menus for next month. Maybe when the temperatures start cooling down the excitement of the season will come. Maybe-- no, I'm quite certain-- God won't grant me the energy for all the tomorrows until I get there. And when I get there, He will be there too.

The kids are involved in organized sports again, which mean I'm on the sidelines for a total of +/- 7 hours watching flag football each Saturday. I like it, for the most part. It makes it easier that they all play at the same location, and two of them are on the same team. It's supposed to be a co-ed league, but of course when I signed Olivia up I expected very few girls to play football. If Olivia wasn't so girly herself I would have encouraged a more feminine sport, but she was eager to play football even if there were few girls. However, on the day of evaluations we discovered that she was the only girl-- the only girl on every team of every age group through and through. Still, she wanted to play. On the first game day, as parents were setting up on the sidelines and the teams were checking each other out, I heard the guys from the opposing team laughing at the fact that there was a girl playing. They said it would be an easy win for them.

Well, Olivia scored a touchdown on the first play, then went on to score two more before the game was over. Her long, lanky legs ran right past all the unsuspecting boys and they all stopped laughing. Yeah!

Overall, however, my kids are having to learn quick and work hard since this is their first year playing. It's neat to watch them try so hard, to see them practice during the week, and to note improvement. This is so good for them.


Andrew and Jack have come down with something, causing me to stay home from church with them yesterday. It was a blessing in disguise for me, a true day of rest! I hope their head aches and low-grade fevers subside soon, but the calm around the house has been a nice change. Right now they are listening to an audio book as they build with LEGOs. I wonder if my headache and flickering eyelids are an indication that I might be getting sick as well, but I remind myself that I typically avoid the kids' illnesses and this time should be no different. Maybe if I tell myself that, it will be true again!

Michael just started up the lawn mower, and I never even asked him to do it. I am blessed.


(Pictures from a few weeks ago, at our friends' grove.)

A guy came today and began to drywall a huge area of our garage that was damaged by a leaking pipe this summer, and he's going to fix some other areas of the house that need some patches and/or texture tomorrow. (To my Canadian readers: Californians texturize their drywall. I'm not sure why, but it needs to be done here to match up the current walls.) The disruption to our school day was unpleasant for me, but I am so happy for the forward progress of household repairs. Or, at least in the case of the garage, it's getting things back to where they were so that forward progress can be made.

Jon's office space is at the top of the list, in addition to some other current projects. I feel for that man. He recently gave up his whole office at the church because more classroom space was needed. So everything came home: all the books, all the files, everything. And though he does have a designated spot in our house for study, there are no bookshelves at all. It's all piled high around the little plastic folding table from where he studies. And intermingled with the office mess are tools and wood and drywall materials.

But tomorrow the wall that Jon installed to divide his office space from our school room will be texturized, then hopefully he'll be able to begin building himself some shelves. I wish I could help him in some way. He does all he can to alleviate the hassles and inconveniences in my life, and I feel so helpless in the world of construction. At least I'll be able to help when it comes time to paint.

I've been spending some of my spare moments making curtain panels. They are turning out alright, and I'm saving us a small bundle of cash by doing it myself. We have discovered that nothing is standard in our house, including the windows and ceiling heights. Therefore, we have a need for custom items such as window coverings, but also a lack of spending money for such things! So I'm thankful for my sewing machine with a manual that tells me how to use it, and a fabric warehouse with hugely discounted fabric. If you come to my house, however, please don't inspect my work too closely!

There are several topics that have been on my mind for the last several weeks, if not months. I keep thinking I'd like to write about those things here, but I'm always hesitant because I haven't yet completely worked out those issues. I'd like for my thoughts to have a nice and tidy package before I write; I'd like to come to some sort of conclusion.

One topic that has been on my mind is that of prayer. It used to be that prayer was more of a chore for me, or a last resort in time of dire need. But the Lord has been changing me so much in recent years, and that is especially made evident in my desire to know Him, to communicate with Him, and to be indwelled by Him in a very real and intimate way. I want PERSONAL relationship with Him. For a good many years I was taught doctrine and form, and for this I am very thankful because I was in need of that too, but I lacked the excitement, passion, and complete awe I am finding now.

I want more than the common Christian life. I think I've said it before, but I want extraordinary. Not for my glory, but for His. I want to know of His power, and I want to see it in my life. I want to ask for big things because I have faith in His great power and lovingkindness and mercy. He loves to do great things for His people, and I want to believe fully that I am His-- that I am His beloved. 

And so prayer-- wow!-- it is becoming such a fountain of good things for me. Not in the sense of receiving the things I've always hoped for, but I have found God to faithfully provide quiet confidence, joy, and deepening faith when I am given to prayer.

This is so exciting to me because I find myself in greater need of such things at this juncture in my life. 

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."
James 4:8

"Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."
Hebrew 7: 25

I want to be a woman given to prayer. I truly believe that calling on the Name of the Lord is the greatest thing I could ever do, whether it is for my husband and children, for the church and it's members, or for the lost people of this world. The salvation of souls is the greatest human need, and God is the only one able to melt a heart of stone and to open the eyes of faith.

Furthermore, I want to be a wife and mother given to prayer. I want to take that privilege, that solemn duty, very seriously. For me, praying for Jon is praying for a husband, father, and pastor in a way no other person could; God won't hear the same petitions on Jon's behalf from the lips of any other person. And my children. Wow. Nothing brings more earnest pleas from me than for their salvation.

Several years ago, I read this account of Charles Spurgeon's mother. The account struck a chord with me because, especially when I first read it, I found myself alone with small children many evenings each week and for extended times during Jon's overseas work and I was grappling with defining my role in Jon's ministry. Again, I think my role is founded in faith-filled prayer. As he goes about the work God has before him, I would love for Jon to have the same sort of confidence in me which is described in a biography of Charles Spurgeon:

"It was to his mother he owed his first awakening. Her prayers, no less than her exhortations, aroused him to concern of soul. His father has told that once on the way to a preaching engagement his heart smote him that he was caring for other people and neglecting his own family. So he turned back home. On his arrival he was surprised to find no one in the lower rooms, but on ascending the stairs he heard the voice of prayer. Quietly listening outside the door, he discovered that his wife was pleading for her children, and specially interceding for Charles, her firstborn and strong-willed son. That son often repeated the story as it was told him by his father, adding, "My father felt that he might safely go about his Master's business while the dear wife was caring so well for the spiritual interests of the boys and girls at home, so he did not disturb her, but proceeded at once to fulfil his preaching engagement."

(Source: The paragraphs following are more accounts of faithful mothers whose prayers were heard by God, and whose sons became great servants of God. I found it encouraging and motivating.)

This is a bit of a rabbit trail, but because Jon travels overseas a few times a year, I often hear critique regarding our roles as a pastor and his wife. Some say Jon should not travel because it takes him away from home. Others say I should make arrangements for the kids and go with him. Jon and I have had many discussions about this (and I think it's for every ministry couple to do as the Lord leads given their situation/gifts/desires), but we've decided that my role is in freeing him up to go and remaining faithful here at home. Too many pastor's kids grow up resentful or undisciplined, and I think much of that is because the pastor's wife was doing things she was not called to do. There is no role described in scripture for the minister's wife! She has the same responsibility as any other wife and mom, that is to be a worker at home, joyfully meeting the needs of her husband and children, and serving the body according to her gifts. In addition, if f I were to go I would be a burden to Jon. His style of travel is not conducive to a wife! It's go, go, go with little sleep and all work. I would be a concern, a hindrance. He doesn't go for vacation; he is there for the purpose of maximum ministry. Plus, the added travel cost would translate to fewer ministry dollars. On the other hand, someone needs to go! There is huge need for the work of ministry, and I don't want to stand in the way of Jon meeting some of those needs when he can.

Oh boy, yes, a rabbit trail! I could go on about pastor's wives and the many ideas out there regarding what she should do and be! So you see? This wasn't a neat and tidy post.

At any rate, I do find myself praying more frequently and fervently when Jon is away. The quiet, late evening hours lead me to a child's bedside, alone with them in the dark as they sleep, lifting up their very soul, as it were, to the throne of grace.

A few last thoughts on prayer from a small booklet I read this afternoon while the kids scootered, climbed trees, rode a bike tandem-style, tossed a football, and picked me roses :/ from a local park. In The Duties of Parents, J.C. Ryle writes:

"Prayer is one great secret of spiritual prosperity. When there is much private communion with God, your soul will grow like the grass after the rain; when there is little, all will be at a standstill, you will barely keep your soul alive. Show me a growing Christian, a going forward Christian, a strong Christian, and sure I am, he is one that speaks often with his Lord. He asks much, and he has much. He tells Jesus everything, and so he always knows how to act." (p.12)

"Parents, if you love your children, do all that lies in your power to train them up to a habit of prayer. Show them what to say. Encourage them to persevere. Remind them if they become careless and slack about it. Let it not be your fault, at any rate, if they never call on the name of the Lord." (p. 13)

These are motivating words for me.


More time has past since the above was written (internet troubles!). I re-read the above and thought, "The last thing I want to communicate here is that I think of myself as some sort of prayer warrior!" Not at all. I am learning to pray, and am only discovering some of God's riches through it. And, yeah,  I want more!


No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd love to hear from you...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...